Unilever outsources software to Accenture

Development, implementation and support of the consumer goods group's applications will be managed by the consultancy and services firm for the next seven years

Unilever has signed a seven-year contract with Accenture which will see the consulting company providing IT application development, implementation and support for Unilever across Europe.

Financial terms of the contracts were not revealed but the contract is part of the consumer goods group's One Unilever programme, which aims to deliver annual savings of €700m (£500m) by creating a streamlined operating model for the company.

The contract covers the provision of IT services to Unilever's operations in 25 European countries and, as part of this, will see the deployment of a "unified" European IT platform.

The IT contract takes the form of a master services agreement under which local contracts will be drawn up subject to successful consultation. Accenture plans to deliver the services from six countries: France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

"This deal allows us to create a simpler, more agile European IT function to better support Unilever's growth agenda," said Neil Cameron, Unilever's chief information officer, in a statement.

"A number" of staff are expected to transfer from Unilever to Accenture.

"This contract should help provide Unilever with a higher degree of certainty around the cost and timing necessary to create its new European business IT platform, which is expected to drive improved business results including increased efficiencies, reduced costs and greater standardisation," said John Zealley, managing partner of Accenture's consumer goods and services practice, in a statement.

The deal builds on an existing relationship between the two companies under which Accenture has been providing business consulting and IT services to Unilever for more than 10 years.